New York, NY, May 24, 2023 – “Elections in Turkey and the presidential runoff on May 28 come amid an upward swing in relations with Israel: tourists are flocking from Israel to Turkish destinations, Turkish entrepreneurs are increasing investment in Israeli tech, and more than seven billion dollars of Turkish goods have hit the Israeli market in 2022.
The good vibe does not stop here. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has gone out of his way recently to keep the Israel-Turkey rapprochement on track. Under his government, Ankara’s reactions to recent tensions in Gaza, the Temple Mount, and with Lebanon have been moderate. This is in sharp contrast to Turkish statements in similar situations in recent years and feels like a breath of fresh air after a decade of frosty ties.
President Erdogan could get reelected but faces a stiff challenge from Opposition Leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu. In Israeli policy circles, there is a lively debate over Mr. Kilicdaroglu’s possible Israel policy if he wins.
Mr. Erdogan’s Islamist electoral base had cheered his growing criticism of Israel after 2011, but it is important to remember that he also is seen inside parts of Israel’s strategic community as the architect of the recent normalization with the Jewish state. His bold decisions, including condemning recent Palestinian terrorism against Israeli civilians, helped restore confidence with Israel. Mr. Erdogan recognizes his country needs Israeli trade and tourism to offset shocks to the Turkish economy. 
Mr. Kilicdaroglu leads a coalition of parties whose foreign policy team consists of old hands who have years of experience in pursuing close ties between Turkey and Israel. He has criticized Israel on a couple of occasions in the past but steered clear of the issue on the campaign trail, which is a wise move.
There are enough indications that the political parties on both sides of the electoral divide will sustain the upward trend in Turkey-Israel relations. The American Jewish Congress underscores the importance of strong ties between Turkey and Israel as essential for both countries, and critical to furthering American interests in the region. 
The American Jewish Congress looks forward to continuing to work with the political parties and politicians in Turkey to enhance partnership with Israel and to expand opportunities for prosperity for both peoples

Jack Rosen
American Jewish Congress

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